6 Jacksonville Jaguars Who Will Be on the Roster Bubble in 2014
With just 53 spots available on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster, you can be sure that change is coming in 2014.
From long-time fan favorites to guys who haven't been able to produce, head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell will have plenty of decisions to make this offseason.
Looking to field the most productive team possible, it's time to take a look at six players who will be on the roster bubble in 2014.
*All stats courtesy of NFL.com unless noted otherwise.
*All cap information courtesy of OverTheCap.com unless noted otherwise.
Jason Babin, DE
One of the biggest names on the Jaguars' roster bubble this offseason is defensive end Jason Babin. Set to earn a whopping $6 million in 2014, Babin's production simply doesn't warrant that type of contract.
Grading out as Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) 39th-ranked defensive end, Babin's numbers have dipped since his glory days with the Philadelphia Eagles—Babin finished the 2011 regular season with 18.0 sacks.
Despite his numbers, according to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, the coaches were impressed by Babin's play this past season. But no matter how impressed they were, in the end, it's the almighty dollar that reigns supreme.
For Babin, there's still hope. Stellino also reported that the 33-year-old veteran was open to possibly restructuring his deal. If the dollars make sense, bringing back a leader like Babin would be a smart move. Sometimes, outside of the glowing world of advanced statistics, having a genuine locker-room presence is needed to sustain the growth of a franchise.
Prediction: Babin restructures his contract and ends up staying with the team in 2014.
Ricky Stanzi, QB
Jaguars third-string quarterback Ricky Stanzi finds himself on this list because of circumstance.
The former Iowa Hawkeye signal-caller was inked to a two-year deal back in September of 2013. But with no dead money floating around his contract, the team could wash their hands of Stanzi and pick up $645,000 in cap space if they choose not to keep him around.
Looking at the glass half-full for a second, Stanzi is a player who spent this past season learning offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's system. Dubbed by WalterFootball.com as a guy who possesses good arm strength, mobility and overall plays smart, at just 26 years old, Stanzi could still provide this club with value.
Stanzi's situation comes down to what unfolds this offseason in the quarterback department. Can he keep his roster spot or will the team decide to move on?
Prediction: Stanzi stays with the club throughout training camp and is given the chance to make this roster.
Justin Blackmon, WR
The most polarizing name on this list is Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Clearly a superior talent on the field, it's been Blackmon's off-field issues that have prevented him from becoming one of football's elite wide receivers.
Aside from letting the organization down, as Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com pointed out, Blackmon's most recent suspension could result in some "major consequences" financially. One of the consequences Fitzgerald described would be the possibility that the Jaguars could cut Blackmon and not owe him a dime.
The real shame for this talented player in all of this is that his career and, more importantly, his personal life have been consumed by off-field issues. Sadly, it's these issues that are going to put Blackmon on the roster bubble for 2014.
Prediction: Despite O'Halloran saying that he thinks Blackmon won't ever take a snap at Jacksonville again, Caldwell has said his "hope" is that Blackmon will return to the Jaguars. If Blackmon is able to show progress this offseason, there's a chance that he returns to the club for the 2014 season.
Danny Noble, TE
Tight end Danny Noble found his way over to Jacksonville after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early in the 2013 season.
Outside of catching a 61-yard touchdown pass during a Week 11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Noble wasn't much of a factor for the Jaguars.
Even though he possesses good size, on film it looks like Noble isn't a long-term solution for this team. With backup tight end Clay Harbor set to hit free agency, and a few other solid names floating around the open market, Noble's best chance of making this roster is strictly based on depth.
Prediction: While there's a chance he makes it into training camp, Noble's roster spot will be in jeopardy if Jaguars decide to re-sign Harbor or go after another free agent tight end.
Stephen Burton, WR
Before John Oehser of Jaguars.com reported that he would be put on injured reserve, Jaguars wide receiver Stephen Burton hadn't made much of an impact.
Assuming he's able to get his health back in order, Burton will be entering the final year of his rookie contract. Because of his minuscule salary, it would be worth giving this young man a chance to play out the rest of that rookie deal.
Prediction: If he gets healthy, Burton will have a chance, once again, to earn himself a roster spot heading into the 2014 season.
Blaine Gabbert, QB
Although his cap number is just around $3.8 million in 2014, Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert could face the axe this offseason.
Without the luxury of having the general manager who drafted him in charge, the new regime in Jacksonville owes Gabbert nothing.
Aside from that, the prospect of drafting another franchise quarterback is quickly becoming reality in Jacksonville. So much so that current Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne acknowledged that reality to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union.
Whether you believe in his talent or think he's a career backup, Gabbert's days in Jacksonville look numbered. As Caldwell told Mark Long of The Associated Press, it's "unlikely" he would keep Gabbert if the team re-signs Henne and drafts a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
Prediction: Assuming the Jaguars are able to re-sign Henne, Gabbert is released before training camp gets underway.